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P 281628Z MAR 08 
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CONFIDENTIAL SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 000587 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM TU 

SUBJECT: TURKEY: INDICTMENT IN AKP CLOSURE SUIT - THE CASE 
FOR THE ROAD TO SHARIA 

REF: ANKARA 578 AND PREVIOUS 

Classified By: PolCouns Janice G Weiner, reasons 1.4 (b),(d) 

^1 . (C) Summary: The 162-page indictment that Court of 

Appeals Chief Prosecutor Yalcinkaya submitted to the 
Constitutional Court, asking that the ruling Justice and 
Development Party (AKP) be closed as a center of anti-secular 
activity, is a typical Turkish indictment - high in 
accusations, low in concrete evidence. The bar for 
indictments in Turkey is relatively low. A prosecutor need 
only show that plausible evidence exists on which a case can 
be based. 

^2. (C) The indictment devotes substantial effort to placing 

the case within the framework of European and international 
law. It contains a compilation of AKP leaders' statements, 
actions, and references to previous political party 
memberships — with particular emphasis on anything related 
to the headscarf amendments — that the prosecutor alleges 
demonstrate AKP ' s aim to erode Turkey's secular structures 
and lead the country toward sharia law. He includes vague 
language on possible resort to violence, or jihad. In 
Yalcinkaya 's analysis, AKP ' s parliamentary majority makes it 
an instrument of power that must be reined in. Yalcinkaya 
outlines his duty as protector of the secular republic and 
emphasizes that secularism - not democracy - is the bedrock 
of the Turkish Republic. End summary. 

Laying the Groundwork 



1L3 . (U) The indictment describes political parties as an 
indispensable element of democracy, but explains they are 
singled out for special legal treatment because of the effect 
they can have on society's basic principles. Yalcinkaya 
devotes considerable effort to demonstrating that this case 
complies with the standards of European and international 
conventions. According to the European Charter of Human 
Rights, he states, parties can be closed if they encourage 
racism, terrorism, xenophobia, violence or intolerance. 

1L4 . (U) Closing a political party constitutes interference 
with freedom of organization; the bar must be high, and the 
penalty proportionate to the crime. Party closure is a tool 
to be used only in the most serious situations. There must 
be evidence of a clear and present threat to democracy. In 



that context, speeches and acts of the party leader and 
members both bind the party and paint a clear picture of the 
party ' s aims . 

^5. (U) The prosecutor refers to certain European totalitarian 
movements, which started as legal political parties and went 
on to destroy democratic systems . When national authorities 
spot such a trend, they have the obligation to prevent it 
before concrete anti-democratic steps can be taken. 

^6. (U) The basic legal authorities on which Yalcinkaya pins 
the case are Articles 68 and 69 of the Constitution and the 
Political Parties law (PPL). He refers as well to the 
Constitution's first four immutable articles, which include 
the principle of the secular state. According to the 
Consitution and the PPL, preconditions for a party closure 
include : 

--When a party's bylaws and program violate Article 68, para 
4 of the Constitution: "The statutes and programs of 
political parties shall not be in conflict with the 
indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and 
nation, human rights, national sovereignty, and the 
principles of the democratic and secular Republic." 

--When the party in question becomes a center for activities 
in violation of Para 4 of Art 68 of the Constitution. 

--When the party in question accepts financial assistance 
from foreign states, international institutions and persons 
and corporate bodies that are not Turkish citizens. 

Options for dealing with the first two include depriving the 

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party of state assistance in whole or in part; or closure. 
What is Secularism 



^7. (U) The prosecutor stresses the need to understand 

secularism from the Turkish perspective. A democratic 
secular state makes no distinctions among its citizens based 
on their beliefs. Pursuant to Constitutional Court 
decisions, secularism dominates all basic principles of the 
Constitution, including democracy, and forms the bedrock of 
Turkey's constitutional order. According to Court decisions, 
religion should not be dominant in state affairs; unlimited 
freedom should be granted to the spiritual life of 
individuals; religions should be placed under constitutional 
guarantee; limitations should be introduced to protect the 
public order, security and interest and to prevent the 
exploitation and/or misuse of religion. Finally, the state 
(not the government), in its role as guarantor of public 
order and rights, has authority to control issues of 
religious rights and freedoms. 

What is AKP 



J.8 . (SBU) Making direct reference to statements PM Erdogan has 
made comparing AKP to European Christian Democratic Parties, 
the indictment states, "Political parties that take political 
Islam as their basis have nothing in common with Christian 
Democratic Parties in Europe". Political Islam in Turkey is 
not limited to an individual and his God, but claims to 
regulate the state and society. The basic code of political 
Islam is sharia. Political Islam and its constitution, 
sharia, are not democratic, but totalitarian. To evade the 
watchful eye of the institutions of democracy, AKP, the 
indictment charges, uses "takiyye" (deceit) — hiding its 
true intentions to accomplish its goal. This, method, too, 
finds its source in sharia. Any arrangement that emphasizes 
religious requirements cannot be democratic; only a secular 
state can be democratic. Ataturk alone abolished sharia in a 
Muslim society. 



AKP ' s Alleged Crimes 



^9. (SBU) For a political party to be a center of anti-secular 
acts, these acts must be committed "intensively" by party 
members, and implicitly or openly adopted by party 
decision-making boards or organs. The dates on which alleged 
acts were committed are not important. "No matter how long 
ago the acts were committed," the indictment may cite them to 
show the party as a "center" for anti-secular acts. This 
permits Abdullah Gul ' s statements and acts as a founding 
member — as PM, FM, deputy PM — to be attributed to the 
party . 

J.10. (U) As evidence of AKP ' s intent, the prosecutor focuses 

on : 

--Presumed continuity with (banned) AKP predecessor parties, 
based on continuity of party founders and members, including 
PM Erdogan, President Gul and many others. 

--The presumption that AKP ' s intent is gradually to transform 
Turkey into an Islamic state, with "moderate Islamic 
republic" as a mid-point and sharia as end-point; numerous 
individuals ' statements are used allegedly to prove this 
charge (this is where the reference to Colin Powell fits in, 
who once termed Turkey a "moderate Islamic republic", as well 
as Erdogan ' s co-chairmanship of BMENA, which Yalcinkaya 
describes as a "US project aimed at converting involved 
countries into moderate Islamic regimes"). 

--Emphasis on the fact that AKP is not a marginal party, but 
rather one that wields power which thus needs to be closely 
watched/examined . 

1L11. (SBU) The headscarf reforms are cited as evidence of 
AKP ' s intentions to turn the state toward sharia: 

--The Education Ministry and YOK are tools used to fulfill 
AKP ' s vision. Those who want to transform a society knows 

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they must start with education. A number of examples are 
offered of women who wear headscarves, who challenged bans in 
court and were rebuffed by courts in Europe, generally with 
the argument that the complainant knew the rules under which 
she was playing when she applied to a certain school. 

--Statements by officials — the PM, Education Minister 
Celik, Higher Education Council (YOK) president Ozcan, AKP 
Vice chair Dengir Mir Firat, former PM adviser Cuneyt Zapsu, 
and others — are cited as exploiting religion and creating a 
chaotic environment at universities. 

--The prosecutor juxtaposes AKP claims that the headscarf is 
a human rights cause with PM Erdogan ' s statement that it had 
become a political symbol; turning a religious element into a 
political symbol constitutes exploiting religion. (Erdogan, 
in Madrid in January, said, "University-age women wearing 
headscarves have been under pressure as they have been 
accused of using their headscarves as a 'political symbol.' 
Even if it is worn as a political symbol, can you consider 
wearing it ... a crime? Can you introduce a ban on symbols?") 

--Statements by several AKPers that liberalizing use of the 
headscarf at universities was the first step; their goal was 
to liberalize wearing the headscarf in the public sector as 
well . 

What Yalcinkaya Thinks 



1[12 . (SBU) Yalcinkaya expounds on his own views. In Turkey, 
"it is a social fact that many women could not take advantage 
of higher education because of poverty and because they had 
to abide by the religious bigotry-led patriarchal order." 

The headscarf, he states, was AKP's tool to negate women's 
liberation struggle and the secular merits of the Republic. 
Liberating the headscarf at universities is a dangerous 



process that would spread to the public sector; those who do 
not wear it will be forced to cover. AKPers have turned 
people against the state and dragged society into 
secular/anti-secular polarization. He also cites his press 
release of 1/17/2008 in which he warned that liberalizing use 
of the headscarf would violate the security and unitary 
structure of the state. Amendments to the Constitution and 
the YOK law would be in violation of the secularism principle 
of the Constitution, enshrined in the first four immutable 
articles of the Constitution. 

Conclusion 



^13. (U) The indictment concludes that: 

--AKP aims to bring about a societal model based on religion. 

From the PM down, AKPers' persistent actions demonstrated 
that AKP has become a center of anti-secular activities, a 
valid ground for party closure. 

--AKP employed political Islamists in the state. 

--AKP exploited religious days and holidays at all levels of 
the party. 

--AKP attempted to amend the immutable articles of the 
Constitution by using its majority in parliament, ignoring 
the principles of separation of powers and the supremacy of 
law. 

--Despite existing court decisions, AKP members and 
administrators introduced Constitutional arrangements to 
liberalize clothing at institutions of higher learning. 
Beliefs or clothing, taken as criteria, translate into 
discrimination within the state and lead to divisions. 

--AKP thus demonstrated its intention to change the basic 
principles of the Republic of Turkey, transform the secular 
Republic, divide people into those who are pious and who are 
not, re-shape the secular judicial structure and open to 
discussion the future of the regime and the Republic. 

--If the immutable secularism principle of the Constitution 

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has been eroded, the Chief Prosecutor must use his authority 
to protect the regime and the principles of the Republic. As 
a result, AKP should be closed as a center of anti-secular 
activities, based on Articles 68/4 and 69/6 of the 
Constitution . 

--The Kemalist state was born at the end of a struggle 
against an Islamic state headed by a Caliphate. 

--If AKP could not achieve the regime it wanted through 
democratic means, it might use Jihad - violence - as an 
alternative means to achieve its aims. 

--AKP's actions would damage the peace and democratic regime 
of the country and could only be prevented by a closure 
decision . 

--He demanded a 5-year political ban on 71 AKPers who, 
thought their actions and rhetoric, made the AKP a center of 
activities against secularism. 

Comment 



1[14. (C) This is a typical Turkish "kitchen sink" indictment - 

a collection of statements and incidents that Yalcinkaya 
maintains had reached critical mass. This "throw everything 
in" approach risks overreaching and damaging his case and 
credibility. It is, though, an accurate reflection of the 
prism through which staunch Kemalists view the world: For 

them, AKP's majority works against it, not for it, because it 
creates a dangerous center of power that must be controlled. 



That is more important than the voice of the people. 

Attempts at change are aimed against the state, they fear. 
Draft laws and disparate statements constitute intent and 
prima facie evidence of a crime. AKP ' s efforts constitute an 
attempt to turn back the clock to the Caliphate that existed 
before Ataturk's revolution. And the headscarf amendments 
crystallized AKP ' s "deceitful game": step by step, they 
intend to move toward a "moderate Islamic republic" and 
thence to theocracy. Much of this may seem exaggerated - but 
to the chief prosecutor and those like-minded, it is very 
real. They see it as their sworn duty to protect the state 
against threats, and they view AKP as the ultimate threat 
from within. 

^15. (C) The rapporteur of the Constitutional Court submitted 

his report on March 27 on the completeness of the indictment. 

Based on that, the Court will decide on March 31 whether to 
proceed with the closure case. Some contacts have told us 
this indictment is meatier than those that caused predecessor 
parties Refah and Fazilet to be closed. If it is to proceed, 
that is appropriate, given the place AKP occupies today in 
Turkey . 

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at 

http : //www. intelink . sgov . gov/wiki/ Portal : Turk ey 

WILSON